bridging the generation gap
BRIDGING THE GENERATION GAP IN THE WORKPLACE

In today’s society, the workforce is primarily multigenerational. This means that for the first time in human history, there are multiple generations actively engaged in the workforce i.e. the Baby Boomers who were born between 1946 – 1964, Generation X born between 1965 – 1980 and Millennials born between 1980- 2000. Each generation has different thoughts and beliefs unique to the time period in which they were brought up. It is important to acknowledge that these generational differences exist and thus synergise them for a more conducive and productive work environment. This article looks at some of the ways to bridge the generation gap in the workplace.

  1. CREATE A KNOWLEDGE SHARING CULTURE

The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

-Andy Rooney

Older workers hold immense knowledge, and as they head towards their golden years, loads of valuable information, skills and lessons are lost. This in turn creates a knowledge vacuum that cannot be easily filled; however this does not have to be detrimental.[1]

Have programs where veteran employees can teach various courses and showcase their knowledge and expertise to the younger employees. The younger generations are used to being stimulated constantly and it’s wise to offer development coaching and training programs to keep them growing and learning new things. The older generations can mentor them by including them in meetings, client interactions and new business pitches. When employees feel trusted and valued it boosts their commitment, motivation, and loyalty.[2]

  1. FOCUS ON INCLUSIVITY

The Millennial generation has often been described as lazy, self-centred and entitled. Living with the burden of this generalised assumption can be demotivating and may even discourage some from taking part in collaborative projects. It is important to note that millennials have grown up in a world driven by the internet and social media which has created a need to feel included and to share their opinions.

As an employer, try to engage them and listen to their views and pose questions about their ideas and how best to execute them. Ensure to include them in meetings and decision making processes where possible.[3] Many Millennials have grown up in an environment that promotes diversity. They focus more on the willingness of a business to embrace and include a diversity of ideas and perspectives within a positive and supportive culture. If you create a culture of diversity that recognises past and current perspectives, your workforce will be more engaged and more productive.

  1. APPRECIATE WHAT EACH GENERATION HAS TO OFFER

The beauty of having a multi-generational work place, is each of these generations bring knowledge and skillsets unique to their life experiences.

The older generation for instance, view work as a privilege and value loyalty and respect for authority figures. This means that they work hard and believe in company loyalty. They value the bond and partnerships formed over time and are optimistic and disciplined,  – they are strong team players. They tend to have strong technical skills and are generally more independent than previous generations. The Millennials in the workforce are more entrepreneurial and tech savvy. They tend to want independence and may be motivated by security and development. Multi-tasking also comes naturally for this group. This is the first generation to come of age during the rapid growth of the internet. They are considered to be among the most resilient in navigating change with an appreciation for diversity and inclusion. Millennials are generally the most educated generation of workers today.[4]

  1. ESTABLISH EFFICIENT COMMUNICATION METHODS

Communication is important because it bridges the gap between individuals and groups. Effective and regular communication is not a trait that’s exclusive to one generation, but employees may communicate differently and at different times depending on their age.

These differing communication preferences can lead to mixed messages and misunderstandings in the office. A younger employee may send an email addressing a disagreement with their older manager or colleague when the older party thinks they should have a formal meeting. Not only does each generation communicate with varying frequency, but they’re using different means to communicate as well. Be sure to offer several means for communication, both formal and informal and ensure that everyone understands the best way to air issues and problem solve.[5]

  1. AVOID ONE SIZE FITS ALL MANAGEMENT

Managing generationally diverse employees also means that you need to switch up your managerial styles accordingly. For example, having a management plan that is millennial-friendly might make their seniors feel out of place and lead to a decrease in their productivity. The reverse is also possible.

When managing the Millennials in the workplace, be sure to focus on the quality of their work rather than the hours they spend working. Additionally, provide guidance and learning opportunities for them to grow and improve their skills. For the older generations, provide leeway for them to work without close supervision as they prefer autonomy. They also value recognition for their hard work and skills.[6]

As time goes by and people continue to age, generational shifts are inevitable. Managing and supporting multigenerational employees can sometimes be difficult. However, with a proactive leadership approach, these generational differences can be an added strength and source of innovation to the company. Generational differences are tremendously advantageous and with these few tips, you can achieve the full potential of your diverse workplace.

Mshimba Michelle


[1] https://ideas.bkconnection.com/bridging-the-workplace-generation-gap-in-your-organization

[2] https://www.employmentlawhandbook.com/general/four-solutions-to-bridge-the-generation-gap-in-the-workplace/

[3] https://resources.workable.com/stories-and-insights/millennials-in-the-workplace

[4] https://www.digitalhrtech.com/generational-differences-in-the-workplace/#How

[5] https://www.business2community.com/human-resources/5-ways-to-bridge-the-generation-gap-between-employees-02292982

[6] https://www.paychex.com/articles/human-resources/how-to-manage-multiple-generations-in-the-workplace

Tips for effective group meetings
TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE GROUP MEETINGS

If not properly steered, meetings can be notoriously unproductive and a big waste of time in office culture. We’ve all been there; where one person speaks up and derails the meeting, or where people aren’t quite sure why they’re there and leave the meeting still unsure of what the meeting was about. So, how do you avoid unnecessary and inefficiently run meetings? How do you ensure that all your meetings are productive? Here are some tips to help you out.

  • ENSURE THAT THE MEETING IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY

It is important to figure out if the meeting is even necessary in the first place. Some things by their very nature, are not a good use of group time. If items are sensitive or require significant back and forth or clarification, then these can be a great use of meeting time.[1]

  • DECIDE WHO WILL BE PRESENT DURING THE MEETING

When scheduling a meeting keep in mind that it will take up people’s time. It is a common misconception that if you schedule say, a one-hour meeting with four people and this meeting ends up being unproductive then you have only lost one hour. This is in fact not the case because, four individual people lost an hour of work time which adds up to four hours of lost time.

With this in mind, it is therefore much easier to decide who needs to be present for the meeting to minimise time wasting and maximise productivity.[2]

  • HAVE AN AGENDA

Set expectations with meeting attendees and have a clear objective for the meeting. It is important to think about what the purpose of the meeting is. Is the meeting a brainstorming session? Do you need to communicate specific information? Or do you want to make an important decision?[3]

After establishing the purpose of the meeting, ensure that you communicate this agenda to those who will take part in the meeting. This will ensure that even before the meeting begins everyone will know exactly why they’re there and how they should prepare.

  • ESTABLISH SOME GROUND RULES

Setting ground rules is an integral part of ensuring successful meetings because they establish a safe and productive environment. Ground rules detail the code of conduct for a meeting and the team, explaining the behaviour that’s expected of all participants. Have rules to regulate when meetings begin and end, how participants should handle their responsibilities in the meeting and how they should treat each other e.g. being respectful of each other’s opinions etc.[4]

  • ACTIVELY MANAGE THE MEETING

Even after going through the process of setting out an agenda for the meeting, you still have to actively manage the meeting to ensure that you stay on track. A lot of times people will unintentionally go on tangents and veer off topic. Try to steer the meeting back to the main agenda to avoid wasting time.[5]

Actively managing a meeting also means that you are getting equal representation and input from all the participants. If you notice that some participants are speaking more than others and dominating the discussion, make a point of calling out those who are more quiet and encourage them to share their input. If a usually quiet person speaks, show your appreciation. Try to draw everyone in and not just let the usual suspects speak.[6]

  • SUMMARISE AND AGREE ON THE NEXT STEPS

During the meeting, agree on the next course of action and then document this. Take note of the tasks assigned to specific people. After the meeting send out a brief summary of the meeting and what was agreed upon. This will promote accountability and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Doing this also makes the meeting time more actionable and productive. [7]

Meetings are an effective way to bounce ideas around and increase productivity in your organisation. They also help boost team spirit and encourage active participation. It is therefore important to ensure that you do your best to make them as efficient and productive as possible. Apply these simple tips and start having more effective group meetings.

Check out: How to get your team out of a creative rut

Mshimba Michelle


[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2014/02/05/seven-steps-to-running-the-most-effective-meeting-possible/#364c656d7a61

[2] https://hbr.org/2015/03/how-to-know-if-there-are-too-many-people-in-your-meeting

[3] https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-to-lead-a-team-meeting-2275935

[4] https://hbr.org/2016/06/8-ground-rules-for-great-meetings

[5] https://www.skillsyouneed.com/rhubarb/keep-meetings-on-track.html

[6] https://liberationist.org/how-to-encourage-participation-in-meetings/

[7] https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02295-z

How to hire an intern graphic
How to Hire an Intern

An intern is a trainee who signs on with an organisation to gain some work experience, or for a  course requirement and/or, to get a general feel of the industry they are interning in. Contrary to popular belief, interns can play an integral role in growing your company. When hiring an intern it is important to hire a person that you can learn from; a person that has the ability to execute tasks and contribute to the company. In this post you’ll find everything you need to know about hiring an intern.

  1. KNOW THE LAW

When hiring an intern many questions arise – what tasks should they do? Should they be paid? Are they entitled to any work benefits? Like in any case, it’s important to know the law. Thus, ensuring their rights are protected and their duties are clearly spelled out.

Section 2 of the Employment Act states that an employee is a person employed for wages or a salary and includes an apprentice and an indentured learner. An intern is therefore not an employee. However, there are guidelines set out by the government regarding the rights and duties of interns. These guidelines can be found in the Internship Policy.

Payment of interns for instance, is an issue that is constantly in question. It is important to distinguish between paid and unpaid interns and who exactly fall in these categories.

  1. CREATE AN INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

Before you hire interns for your company or organisation, you must first define the specific job and the skills your internship program will feature. Set up training courses so that the interns can have an opportunity to learn how to perform various tasks within the company and grow their skill sets.[1] Have the intern set out specific goals and learning objectives they hope to achieve through the internship as well. This will motivate them to take the program seriously and give them a sense of responsibility and accountability.

It’s also important to look at your organisations’ needs and determine what you hope to achieve with an internship program. This will ensure that the internship is an educational and rewarding experience for both the intern and the organisation.[2] Commonly, companies use these programs to recruit talented graduates as employees before they’re snatched up by the ‘talent-deficient’ market. This is as much an opportunity for your organisation, as it is for the student interns.

  1. LOOK FOR POTENTIAL

Potential is a hopeful word that looks to the future. It is the ability to transform. The term “Potential” is typically used to suggest that an individual has the qualities to effectively perform and continually contribute in broader or different roles in the organisation. When hiring interns, pay close attention to those who show great enthusiasm for their work, and have the drive and ability to improve.

When hiring interns, ensure you identify those with the highest potential and maximise on this.[3] Untapped potential in robust youthful interns is a resource you cannot afford to miss out on.

  1. SELECT A SUPERVISOR

Interns are in your office to learn and it is exceptionally beneficial and fulfilling to step into the role of a mentor. When selecting a supervisor, find someone who enjoys teaching and mentoring others and also understands the ins and outs of the organisation.

Supervisors are also important because they will help in orienting the interns and enable them to familiarise themselves with the company.[4]

A good supervisor is patient and can come up with quality work assignments for the interns. This supervision will further provide the company with information on the intern for future hiring.[5]

  1. REVIEW APPLICATIONS AND INTERVIEW

When looking to hire an intern make sure to carefully look over their application papers. Hire interns who are interested in your particular field. Related interest can often lead to higher performance levels. Interns who enjoy their duties tend to execute with greater enthusiasm. Passion yields positive results.[6]

Interviews are a great way to find out an intern’s passion and interest in your company and whether they are a good fit for your organisation.

Remember that the purpose of hiring interns is not to exploit them for cheap labour or, to shove them in a corner and give them pointless work to pass time. Internships are programs that are supposed to give students meaningful work experience and the opportunity to prepare for the job market. Interns provide you unprecedented, first hand access to the next generation of employees, they’re quite literally the future of your organisation. If you understand the role interns play in your brands sustainability, you must invest in them as a resource.


Mshimba Michelle


[1] https://www.internqueen.com/how-start-internship-program-your-company

[2] https://careers.usc.edu/employers/recruit-interns/learn-how-to-develop-an-effective-internship-program/

[3] https://talentguard.com/how-to-maximize-employee-potential/

[4] http://info.parkerdewey.com/supervising-interns

[5]http://www.ucdenver.edu/life/services/ExperientialLearning/foremployers/Pages/Steps.aspx

[6] https://mileiq.com/blog/hire-intern-small-business/

How to get hired on the spot graphic
HOW TO GET HIRED ON THE SPOT

You’ve done it; you landed that job interview. After all the resumé sprucing and cover letter writing, you finally got the call from HR and your first interview with your dream company is on the books. Now, it’s all about getting hired. Everyone, at some point in their life, will have to prepare for that uncomfortable and often intense meeting with a company they’ve applied to. But where do you begin? Here are some tips on how to get hired on the spot.

  1. TREAT YOUR INTERVIEW LIKE A SALES PITCH

Unless you’re actually in sales, the very concept of selling yourself can be daunting. You don’t want to sound arrogant or corny, or worse – desperate. But learning how to self-promote in a convincing manner is what the job interview is all about. Your interview is your chance to sell yourself and convince your interviewers of all the good you can do for the company. Interviews are not the time for modesty!

Have an elevator speech ready. Before you walk in the door, you should be ready with a short, punchy sentence or two that not only wraps up your skills, qualities and talents, but also entices the interviewer to listen to more of what you have to say. “You can’t create a single elevator pitch that will work for every audience,” says Anne Marie Segal a Connecticut-based executive coach at Stamford. “You have to be speaking to the pain points of the company.” After all, your goal is to present yourself as the solution to their problems.[1]

If you’re not especially comfortable talking about yourself, the job interview is going to feel much more awkward than it really needs to be. The key to finding your rhythm? Practice.

  1. DRESS FOR SUCCESS

When you feel good about the way you look, you naturally convey confidence and a positive attitude. These nonverbal messages are as important in the interview as the verbal skills you use in selling yourself. While there are no absolute rules, a good tip is to dress as you would if you were working at the company.

What you wear depends on what kind of interview it is and what it’s for. Keep in mind that it is always better to be overdressed than under dressed. If you are confused as to what to wear, don’t hesitate to ask. Call the person who scheduled you for the interview, or human resources to ask.

How you dress for an interview does make a difference. You’ve heard the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” When it comes to a job interview, nothing rings truer. First impressions matter and dressing up shows that you actually put some effort. The first judgment potential employers will make, is based on how you look and what you are wearing. This is why it’s important to dress professionally for a job interview even when the work environment is a casual one.

  1. KNOW YOUR WEAKNESSES

A common job interview question you might get asked is, “What is your biggest weakness?” Even if you want to come across as the candidate to hire, no one is perfect, and trying to present yourself as such will put off the hiring manager.

So, just as you would keep track of your former glories, you should also have an example or two to present to a potential employer of things you need to work on. You can say something like, “In looking for a remote job, I’ve found that learning how to self-manage is very important. I’ve become much better at being able to meet all of my deadlines.” This doesn’t show failure, per se, but it does make you more human as you portray a weakness and how you’re working to make it better.[2]

“Hiring managers who ask about weaknesses during interviews are looking for examples of how a person faced obstacles in the past. Interviewers ask about weaknesses and failures because resiliency is a critical skill set which employees must have. As a manager, you expect to give constructive criticism to your employees and the ability of a person to take that and improve is important when choosing who you will manage.” says Dylan Schweitzer, a group talent acquisition manager for Enterprise Rent-A-Car.[3]

  1. BE PREPARED

The most important step to getting hired is being prepared for your interviews. By doing some preparation you’ll feel more in control, and will appear cool, calm and collected as a result to your prospective employers.

At the very least, have a look at the company’s website to familiarise yourself with their history and what they do. Showing that you’ve taken the time to learn about the business is always a good way to impress your interviewers. Look into developments in the industry as well, as this will show that you are engaged and clued-in.

Additionally, make sure you fully understand the duties of the role and what is expected. If the interviewer asks ‘what do you know about the role’ and you’ve not read it, it’s a sure-fire sign you’re unlikely to get hired! Also, by reading the job specs you can start to anticipate the questions the interviewer may ask and be better prepared to answer them.[4]

  1. SOLVE PROBLEMS

You won’t always be the most qualified candidate; however, you can still ace an interview by focusing on what skills you can bring to the role. Solving problems is an analytical skill that many employers look for when conducting interviews.

Managers would far rather hire a member of staff who can take action to resolve a problem than someone who doesn’t act and relies on someone else to think of a solution. Even if it isn’t outlined as a requirement in a job description, many employers will still be evaluating your problem-solving ability throughout the application and interviewing process. Effective problem solvers are those who can apply logic and imagination to make sense of the situation and develop a solution that works. Even if it doesn’t prove as successful as you had hoped, resilience is important, so you can reassess the situation and try an alternative.[5]

During the interview, you may be asked about times when you ran in to problems in the course of your work and how exactly you handled these situations. Potential employers aim to find out how you would handle future problems that may arise in the company. Always show that you are a quick thinker and are able to come up with innovative ways to deal with various issues.

Use these few tips to build your confidence and lay the foundation for a positive and influential interview. Remember that a job interview is not a test of your knowledge, but your ability to use it at the right time. So just go in and remember – you’re fantastic!

Feel free to email us your CV to keep on file incase we have the perfect position for you

If you end up landing that dream position, you’ll need to turn your focus to progressing up the ladder. Find out how to get promoted here.

Michelle Mshimba


[1]https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/sell-yourself-job-interview-hot-jobs 

[2] https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/how-to-sell-yourself-in-an-interview-without-being-an-egomaniac

[3] https://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/02/19/how-to-talk-about-your-biggest-weakness-in-a-job-interview/#6cda44f05a80

[4] https://www.glurecruit.co.uk/candidate-advice/interviewing-for-a-job/importance-fully-prepared-interview/

[5] https://www.wikijob.co.uk/content/interview-advice/competencies/problem-solving

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